Timothy Sullivan, a.k.a. Das Moth, lives in Tokyo where — for the last three years — he’s been a resident, lover of disco and fine malt whiskey, and sought-after DJ. In addition to releasing an EP on Cut Copy’s label, Cutters Records, and being a regular world traveler, Sullivan, from South Wales in Australia, has found time to join the guest-mix roster with famed fashion force Oki-Ni.
Das Moth will be playing at Globe Lounge in Itaewon on Aug. 18 with The Weekend.
Groove Korea: For how long have you been making music?
Das Moth: I’ve been playing instruments since I was about 12 years old. My first recording was a home recording of the garage punk band I was in at the age of 14.
How did you make the transition from punk music to disco?
Music is a strong feeling. At a young age, punk and metal were very influential on me. More often than not I find myself listening to my favorite albums from when I was 15, 16 in between the records I’ve bought recently. I don’t know what it is with the progression from punk to disco. It seemed completely normal for me. Not forgetting where you came from is the important part of the journey.
When did you move to Tokyo? What prompted the move from Australia and what types of things keep you in that city?
I moved to Tokyo in July 2009. I’m currently living in Shibuya. I’ve always been fascinated by the Japanese culture/history. In 2007 Damn Arms — my old band — had a four-date tour of Japan. From the moment I landed there I knew it was going to be a special trip. The shows were amazing; the people were incredible. It really made an impact on me. In 2008 I returned for a DJ tour. When I was leaving I decided I wanted to spend some serious time in Japan. I packed up and sold everything I had in Australia and got on the plane. I see something new in Tokyo every day. My friends are beautiful and it’s opened my mind to a lot of things. I didn’t think I would live there for so long. Now it’s been three years.
What is Oki-Ni for those that may not know? Will you talk about the mix you made for them? I’m assuming it was a big deal.
Oki-Ni is a boutique select clothing store from London. They have a big connection to music, too. I’ve been a huge fan of their mix series for years now. It was a big deal for me (laughs). They’ve had really influential artists do mixes in the past — Greg Wilson, Bill Brewster, Andrew Weatherall, Simiam Mobile Disco, Soul Clap, Tensnake, Dam Funk, Jacques Renualt — just to name a few! So I was really excited when I was asked to do one. The mix is called, “High Fives & Yamazaki Whiskey.”
What is Yamazaki whiskey and what does it have to do with high-fives?
Yamazaki is a single-malt whiskey made by Suntory. In mathematical terms: Yamazaki’s on the rocks + good tunes = high fives!
Damn Arms experienced a lot of success and did a lot of touring with a lot of people. How long were you together, and did you guys just decide it was time to move on or was there something more specific that split up the band?
Not entirely sure of how long we were together. I think around three-and-a-half years. We toured a lot. So we decided to take a break from that and work on new music, because we were burning ourselves out from playing the older ones over and over again. The enjoyment was leaving us.
We worked on a bunch of new songs, even recorded them. But they never saw the light of day. During that time Ben (guitar) started playing with Cut Copy and Simon (drummer) started playing with Lost Valentinos. That turned from filling in to being more permanent. Yama (synth/vocals) and I tried to keep the fire burning. We released one more 12” then put Damn Arms to sleep. I’m super proud of what we did.
I read something funny about you being a nanny, a.k.a. a “manny,” among other things. Can you give us a little back story on that?
I’ve been a “manny” for years now. The kids keep me sane. At their young age, they are honest and it’s nice to be around. I’ve done the typical café work. The jobs that let me travel are always good.
We’re very excited about you coming to Korea. Will this be your first time here?
Yep. It’s my first trip to Korea. I’m super excited, too. Actually coming to Seoul a few days early to see the city. Touring usually doesn’t let this happen because you’re on a strict timeframe.
Something you’ve heard about Korea a lot is …?
Living in Tokyo, I hear a lot of K-pop music playing when I’m walking the streets.
What inspires your music outside of music itself?
Romance, reading, taking photos and my friends.
What have you been playing out a lot?
Candi Staton – When You Wake Up Tomorrow
Goody Goody – It Looks Like Love (Chida Edit)
Tom Trago – What You Do (Mr Fingers Dub)
The Backwoods – Breakthrough (DJ Kaos Sleazy Mix)
A song that’s so bad it’s good is …?
Ne-yo – Closer.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you love to dance. Can you describe your signature dance move, or the one you are most likely to be caught doing at 4 a.m.?
It may be surprising, but I actually don’t dance that much. Does depend on the amount of drinks I’ve had. I do like to clap, though. I tend to have a shuffle behind the decks while I’m playing. At 4 a.m., I’m usually the DJ (laughs).
And lastly, what would you like to leave Korea with?
New friends and good memories.